Black Female Icons in Latin American and Caribbean Literature and Culture
by Dawn Duke
Who are the Black heroines of Latin America and the Caribbean? Where do we turn for models of transcendence among women of African ancestry in the region? In answer to the historical dearth of such exemplars, Mayaya Rising explores and celebrates the work of writers who intentionally center powerful female cultural archetypes. In this inventive analysis, Duke proposes three case studies and a corresponding womanist methodology through which to study and rediscover these figures. The musical Cuban-Dominican sisters and former slaves Teodora and Micaela Ginés inspired Aida Cartagena Portalatin’s epic poem Yania tierra; the Nicaraguan matriarch of the May Pole, “Miss Lizzie,” figures prominently in four anthologies from the country’s Bluefields region; and the iconic palenqueras of Cartagena, Columbia are magnified in the work of poets María Teresa Ramírez Neiva and Mirian Díaz Pérez. In elevating these figures and foregrounding these works, Duke restores and repairs the scholarly record.
DAWN DUKE is a professor of Spanish and Portuguese and chair of Portuguese at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She is the author of Literary Passion, Ideological Commitment: Toward a Legacy of Afro-Cuban and Afro-Brazilian Women Writers (Bucknell), editor of A Escritora Afro-Brasileira:
Ativismo e Arte Literária, and coeditor of Celluloid Chains: Slavery in the Americas through Film. She has published more than twenty-two articles and chapters.
252 pages, 6.12 x 9.25
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